Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Banana Nut Crunch Layer Cake


I have a friend again! My friend who moved to Toronto 8 years ago came back to Vancouver for good just recently. I’ve never made her a birthday cake, because, well, the whole transporting a cake to Toronto is a tad difficult. But with her back in town, I finally had the chance to make her one.


It was a no-brainer as to which cake I was going to make. Ever since I bought the Milk Bar cookbook a few years ago, I’ve been eyeing the banana cake recipe. My friend really likes bananas (which I find interesting as I don’t know anyone else who would put bananas in their top 5 list. ps. she also likes rocks, which I find interesting. And maps.)


So here’s the cake! It’s a pretty intensive cake with recipes within recipes. Check out the verdict at the end of the post.


Banana Cake
slightly adapted from Milk Bar Cookbook


Ingredients
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 Tablespoons oil (I used canola)
½ teaspoon banana extract (I omitted and the flavour was still there)
2 very ripe bananas
1 ⅓ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of 2, 5-inch cake pans with parchment (or use 3, 6-inch and omit slicing in half after baking). Grease the sides with oil or butter and add a thin layer of flour
  2. Beat butter and sugar with the paddle attachment of a standmixer for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides,  add egg, and beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
  3. To the buttermilk, add the oil and banana extract (if using) and stir. With the mixer on low, stream in the buttermilk mixture a little at a time. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until doubled in size and light in colour (6 min). If after 6 minutes it doesn’t look homogenous, keep beating. Scrape down bowl.
  4. Add banana and mix on low for 60 seconds.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low for 60 sec just until things come together.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the toothpick test come out clean. This will depend on your oven and the size of your cake pan.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes before popping them out and cooling completely. Torte, or cut the cakes in half to make 4 layers (no need if you baked in 3 pans).


Hazelnut Brittle (to use in Hazelnut Crunch) (make ahead of time)
from Milk Bar Cookbook
Ingredients
½ cup sugar
¼ cup hazelnuts


Directions
  1. Place silicone mat on a baking sheet.
  2. Put sugar in a small saucepan and heat on medium-high to caramelize. Stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to cook evenly. Get to a dark amber colour. Take off heat.
  3. Stir in hazelnuts and quickly spread out onto silicone mat. Cool completely
  4. Break into pieces and place in a ziplock bag. Crush with a meat pounder or rolling pin until you get rice size pieces.


Hazelnut Crunch (make ahead of time)
slightly adapted from Milk Bar Cookbook
Ingredients
3 Tablespoons hazelnut paste (I used almond butter because that’s what I had)
1/3 cup of the hazelnut brittle from above
½ cup feuilletine (you can find this in specialty stores or online. If in Vancouver, you can get it at Gourmet Warehouse)
1 Tablespoon icing sugar
¼ teaspoon salt


Directions
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and paddle until combined. Store in an airtight container.


Banana cream (make ahead)
slightly adapted from Milk Bar Cookbook
Ingredients
1 very ripe banana
2 ½ Tablespoon heavy cream
2 Tablespoons milk
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ egg yolks
½ teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 ½ Tablespoon butter
yellow food colouring
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
½ cup icing sugar


Directions
  1. Puree banana, 2 ½ Tablespoons of heavy cream, and milk in a blender.
  2. Add sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolk and blend until smooth. Pour into a saucepan. Clean the blender.
  3. Bloom gelatin by sprinkling it over 2 Tablespoons of cold water in small cup. Allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes to soften.
  4. Place saucepan over medium-low heat and cook while whisking. Bring to a boil then continue whisking for 2 minutes until it comes to a thick glue consistency.
  5. Place contents of saucepan into the blender, add the gelatin, and blend until combined.
  6. Add food colouring and blend.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and cool in the refrigerator until completely cooled (1 hour).
  8. Whisk remaining heavy cream and icing sugar to medium-soft peak. Add banana mixture and slowly whisk until combined. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.


Ganache
Ingredients
150g dark chocolate, chopped
¾ cup heavy cream
½ Tablespoons corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoons butter, in cubes
½ teaspoon vanilla


Directions
1. Place chocolate in a bowl.
2. In a saucepan, combine cream, corn syrup, and salt, and bring to a boil.
3. Pour over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute.
4. Whisk to combine, from the middle slowly out to the outer edge.
5. Add butter and mix.
6. Cool before using. If you make ahead, keep wrapped in the fridge and microwave for 10 seconds to make pliable.


Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients
¼ cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla (or banana) extract
yellow food colouring


Directions
Combine all ingredients except for the food colouring and mix until smooth. You can add more cream if it’s too thick. Add food colouring to your desired hue.




Finished product with acetate.


Assembly
Components
  1. cake layers
  2. ganache
  3. hazelnut crunch
  4. banana cream
  5. frosting
  6. ¼ cup milk
  7. acetate 

Directions

  1. Place a little dollop of frosting or ganache on your plate or cake board. Place first cake layer on top.
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush milk over the surface and sides of cake.
  3. Spread on a layer of ganache.
  4. Sprinkle hazelnut crunch to completely cover the surface.
  5. Add banana cream and spread out with a small spoon.
  6. Place second cake layer on top.
  7. Wrap acetate tightly around the cake so that it creates a container around it that extend above it. Secure with tape. This will hold the remaining layers and make it easier to build.
  8. Repeat the layers until you end with the final cake layer.
  9. Spread the buttercream frosting on top. Decorate as you like.
  10. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remember to peel of the acetate before serving.


Verdict: This cake was amazing! Moist, flavourful, with great texture from the hazelnut crunch. Definitely worth it to make, you just need to be very organized and start planning and prepping components days in advance because it’s too much to do in one day. I was on my honeymoon right before her bday, so I baked the cake beforehand and froze the layers. I made the ganache, banana cream, and hazelnut crunch the day before.


4 comments:

  1. Congratulations for this amazing recipe! I love all the flavors you used and I am sure this cake tastes like Heaven!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! Naked cakes are so easy and look great.

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